What is Pronator Teres Syndrome?
Pronator teres syndrome or pronator teres compression syndrome (PTS) is a nerve entrapment at the elbow. Although not as common as carpal tunnel syndrome, the symptoms of PTS are similar to that of the former as in both the cases, it is the medial nerve that is involved. This is the very reason, this syndrome often goes undiagnosed by many.
Pronator Teres Syndrome
As mentioned above, the median nerve gets entrapped in the elbow causing pain in the forearm and the palm. It is the pronator teres muscle that exists in the elbow that compresses the nerve.
The pronator teres muscle when enlarged can tighten itself and press against the nerve leading to the syndrome. Excessive and repetitive motion of the forearms as part of a sport or an occupation can cause the pronator teres muscle to enlarge and tighten and compress the nerve.
People who are into sports like tennis, badminton and those who are into occupations that make use of tools like screwdrivers, can injure their elbow joints or overuse their pronator teres muscle causing it to enlarge and compress the median nerve, ultimately leading to the syndrome.
The following are the symptoms experienced-
- pain in the forearm
- pain and numbness in the palm region which also spreads to the thumb, middle and the index fingers
- a progressive weakness of the forearm
Before one can begin treatment for the aching forearm and the palm, it is important to diagnose the underlying condition, which is PTS. Since this syndrome is similar to that of carpal tunnel syndrome, the electro-physiological and clinical features (like conduction velocity of the nerve) are different in PTS.
The clinical features differ in terms of region of pain (in PTS, elbow movement aggravates the pain while in carpal tunnel syndrome, wrist movements aggravate pain).
The treatment for pronator teres syndrome are-
- ultrasound physiotherapy
- massage therapy
- decompression surgery (only as a last resort)